Opening pre-season clash cannot come quickly enough for Exiles' new coach
9:00am Saturday 17th August 2013 in Sport
Today's opening pre-season friendly against Chinnor RFC cannot come soon enough for London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell and his squad.
The Exiles travel to Kingsey Road (kick-off 2.30pm) with Burnell and his players champing at the bit to get some rugby under their belts after weeks of training a Old Deer Park and hitting the gym.
“We’ve done seven weeks of good quality work and we’ve just come back from a week off and you can see that we’re ready to play rugby,” said Burnell.
“Obviously we’ve only been able to put certain aspects of our play into place, but it’s going to be very interesting to see where we’re at against Chinnor.
"There’s a good buzz about the place in respect of competition for places - that’s the big thing for me.”
With the Scarlets to come on August 25 at the Kassam stadium, followed by a trip to Henley Hawks, Burnell has thrown down the gauntlet to his players to stake a claim for a starting jersey for the Exiles’ opening Greene King IPA Championship fixture against Bedford Blues on September 14 at Allianz Park.
“By the Henley game we shouldn’t be a million miles away from knowing our starting XV against Bedford,” said Burnell.
“Chinnor is the first step on the ladder in respect of getting everyone on the park and looking at different combinations.
“It’s going to be very interesting to see how the set-piece goes, because there has been a massive emphasis on that.
“When you’re working with six quality props and three hookers you can imagine what the scrummaging sessions are like against each other, let alone what they’re going to be like against an opposition.
“The good thing about the environment that’s been created here is that there’s a fantastic work ethic and Saturday is the next opportunity for the players to show just much they want that shirt.
“It is a new environment, I am a new coach and there are a lot of new players. Everyone’s a little bit unsure of what position they’re in, and that’s the big thing about this weekend.”
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